Gordon Diefenbach has handled some of the toughest custody battles in New York over the last 10 years of his practice. He can coach a parent during a divorce when facing the complicated process of figuring out child custody. According to a paper published by The Rural Law Center of New York, a parent can prepare for custody court by doing a few things to support his or her case.
1) Child custody rule 1
Write down routine, daily and special events, especially significant ones. You don’t want to forget important events, and you don’t want to be accused of “erasing” events. Include details like descriptions of the children’s roles, things the children said, and matters that you and the children discuss. Details could include the children’s feelings about you or the other parent, but try not to provoke discussion with your children about the divorce. Avoid making the journal simply a “smear piece.”
2) Child custody rule 2
Another thing to prepare: Photographs can be used to illustrate your care and ability to parent. This includes the physical setting (home, living and sleeping areas, nearby
playgrounds, etc.), and the events and activities you do together—both daily and special. Don’t forget to include yourself in photos.
If the other parent is often drunk or chronically shouts at the children, a recording of his/her voice may help to prove it. This can also help when one parent uses the telephone to issue vulgarities or to act unreasonably toward the other. Just know that certain types of recordings are illegal and you must check with an attorney before doing so.
4) Records and documents
Begin gathering pediatricians’ bills, report cards and school correspondence, cards made for you by your children, and school artwork.
5) Letters of reference
Letters of reference are helpful from people familiar with you or your children. These may include neighbors, teachers, babysitters, relatives, or your employer. They also provide you with a good idea of what people are likely to say in child custody court, if their testimony becomes necessary.